Twickenham Cat Killer?

Troubling news has been circulating this week about cats being killed in the Haggard Road area of Twickenham. Reports surfaced on the Facebook page of Hounslow Animal Welfare Society (aka HAWS) stating that one of their animal adopters had been visited by the Police to inform her that her cat had been deliberately hanged from a tree. The HAWS posting goes on to say that a local vet told them of another case of a cat being killed and mutilated in the area. The Police are looking into the matter but in the meantime, cat owners in the vicinity have been advised to keep their pets indoors. Needless to say, if anyone has any information about this they should contact the Police.

LINKS:
* HAWS on Facebook
* Evening Standard item
* Richmond & Twickenham Times

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TWAP Update: Twickenham Town Square Gets Closer

Water Lane site, Twickenham

Water Lane site, Twickenham

Twickenham hasn’t always made best use of its Thames-side location. It’s perfectly possible to pass through the town without realising that the main drag passes just 100 metres from the river. That looks set to change with the Council’s acquisition of the large site on the corner of Water Lane and King Street currently occupied by Santander, Superdrug and M&Co. It’s a TWAP* thing, of course. The plan is to redevelop the site to create a ‘town square’ at the top of Water Lane, provide better access to the river and the Diamond Jubilee Gardens (possibly including some kind of outdoor performance space), and create a mixed use development incorporating retail outlets and residential properties. Sounds good. What’s not to like?

Council supremo Lord True, aka the Blue Baron, said, “The separation of Twickenham Town from the historic riverside, that was so critical to the development of the area, has long been regretted by local people, and led to wide spread under appreciation of the quality of the unique place. By acquiring the properties, the Council is fulfilling a promise to enable the creation of a new heart and square for Twickenham that will unite town and river again”. Cue air punching and stirring music.

There will be those who point out that spending millions on a scheme like this may not be the best use of public money in these straitened times. They have a point. But, a creatively designed, well-built scheme that links the town’s shopping area to the river and which includes some commercial development to cover costs could be a major asset to the town. And therein lies the crux of the issue for some. One person’s ‘creative design’ is another’s carbuncle. One person’s ‘appropriate amount of commercial development’ is another’s ruination of a prized asset. Most will agree that public space and access to the river need to be at the heart of this project not something tacked on to some developers’ plan for packing in luxury riverside flats. It’s going to be a difficult balancing act to get it right. As the Baron goes on to say, “This could be a lasting legacy for generations.” No pressure there then.

El Brute are hoping that some of the country’s brightest and best architects will be prepared to put forward ideas as part of a design competition. That sounds like an interesting starting point. We assume that after last summer’s Gloriana Boathouse Drama, Norman Foster won’t be rushing his top team down to Twickenham any time soon. Good luck to those that put themselves forward.

That’s it for now. Stay tuned to twickerati for more TWAP news as and when it happens.

Car Park, Twickenham

Car Park behind Santander, Twickenham

LINKS:
* El Brute press release

GLOSSARY:
* TWAP = Twickenham Action Plan or, as the Council continue to insist on calling it, the Twickenham Area Action Plan

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Your 2014 Twickenham Christmas What’s On Spectacular

Christmas display, Corto, Church St.

Christmas display, Corto Deli

Can it really be that time again when we have to scour other people’s websites and publications to find the best of what’s on in Twickenham and then pass it off as our own hard work? Yes, yes it can. So here we go with some quality stuff to keep you occupied over the festive season. Meanwhile we’re off to sort out our legal defence with our lawyers. Whether it’s Christmas lights, festive fairs, artists’ studios, a pantomime or rugby at Twickenham Stadium that you’re after, when it comes to #twickmas, we’ve got it all below. Or at least, we’ve summarised some aspects of it…


Scroll down or just click on our categories if you want to keep it simple:
Christmas lights
Other Christmas events in & around Twickenham
Panto & Theatre
Music & Comedy
Other Useful Links

 

CHRISTMAS TURN-ONS
When seminal indie art-rockers The Sugarbabes sang ‘Push The Button’ way back in 2005 it’s unlikely they were aspiring to be the ones who switched on the Christmas lights in Twickenham some nine years later. And to be honest, they’ve had so many changes of personnel that having a stage big enough to fit them all on would be difficult, especially as they’d also need to make space for assorted local dignitaries and Star Wars Storm Troopers.  Come to think of it, do we actually know who’s inside those Storm Trooper outfits? Mutya? Keisha? The other one? Is that you lot in there??

Twickenham – Friday 21st November
Twickenham Town Centre Christmas Lights – from 4.00pm
Busy, much? Expect plenty of Twicker-types down in Church Street for Twickenham’s Christmas lights. Events kick off in the afternoon. There will be stalls, Punch & Judy shows, face painting, the band from the Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall and more. Given that the presence – or at least the clearly identifiable presence – of The Sugarbabes is highly unlikely, you will see,  Don Craine of 60s (and current) rhythm & blues outfit Downliners Sect doing the honours when it comes to pushing the button at 6.30pm. It was on Twitter; it must be true! Expect plenty of mulled wine, mince pies, festive music and a whole lot of good-natured milling around. Worth a visit.  More info (coming soon) at TTBA

Festive Family Fayre at the Diamond Jubilee Gardens – 4.30pm to 7.30pm
There will be elves. There will be reindeer, Santa, children’s crafts, stalls, carol singing and live music from Nark Drool and the Shudders to keep you entertained at the Diamond Jubilee Gardens on Twickenham Embankment. More info from Twickenham Riverside Trust.

OTHER, LESSER PLACES…

Whitton – Sunday 23rd November
Whitton gets the Christmas lights treatment on Sunday 23rd. The High Street will be closed from 11.00am. There’s a 5k fun run at midday and there’ll be lots of other entertainment including the Kneller Hall Military Band. The lights go on at 4.45pm and it’ll all be over at 5.30pm. More info.

Teddington – Thursday 27th November
Teddington – are we even allowed to mention that place – does its thing in the High Street & Broad Street. Includes late night shopping from 4.00pm to 10.00pm Lights go on at 5.45pm. Broad Street, Teddington.

East Twickenham – Friday 28th November
East Twickenham will be doing its own button pushing or switch flicking on Friday 28th November with support from Mayor Jane Boulton (off of El Brute). It’s taking place at the Christmas tree (obviously) just by Richmond Bridge at 5.00pm with carol singing, mulled wine and, of course, mince pies. More.

Hampton Hill – Friday 28th November
28th November festive fun is not the sole preserve of East Twickenham. Hampton Hill will be getting into the Christmas spirit too. Events take place from 4.00pm, with its famous parade at 6.00pm. Expect a hog roast, craft stalls, booze, you name it. More.

Richmond Christmas Lights – Fri 28th November
Oh blimey, there’s also loads going on ‘over the water’ on Friday 28th. Richmond’s Christmas Lights event runs from 3.00pm to 8.00pm. We’re talkin’ food market, live music, Father Christmas, and lots of promotions in the local shops, especially around Hill Rise. The lights will go on at 6.30pm with Jerry Hall doing the honours. Younger readers will remember that Jerry first found fame when she appeared on Strictly Come Dancing a few years back and she’s also starring in Richmond’s panto this year.  Oh yes she is.  More.

Hampton Village – Sun 30th November
Food, drink, local choirs, live music and more at the Hampton Village Christmas Celebration. Santa will be leaving the Jolly Coopers at 3.45pm (hopefully not after a long lunchtime sesh!) and heading to the Sea Scout Hall on Station Road to turn on the tree lights at about 4.30pm. The event ends at 7.00pm. Full details.

Teddington Christmas Lantern Procession – Sun 14th December
Bloody Teddington, eh? Always trying to have the final word, aren’t they? This will be their second event of the season. The Christmas Lantern Procession returns for its second year. The clue’s in the name really.  The procession starts at 4.00pm at Teddington Memorial Hospital and wends its festive way through the town centre. Santa will be leading the way. He’s certainly being kept very busy in the Borough isn’t he, boys and girls?! More details.

 

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High Street Update (Updated)

It’s been a long time since our last Twickenham high street update. Has much really happened in the last 3 months? You bet your bottom dollar it has. And we’ve even added a couple of updates right at the end.

Heath Road has been a veritable hive of activity with openings (hooray) and closings (boo) reflecting the ever changing face of High Street UK.  Probably the biggest story is the closure of Albert’s Music Shop after 62 years of supporting the musical folk of south west London.  It’s a shame to see a longstanding family business disappear and the end of Albert’s will leave a big gap on the high street. These are tough times for specialist retailers and the internet’s gain is Twickenham’s loss.

Albert's Music Shop

Albert’s Music Shop

Shall we talk about 39 Heath Road again? Yes, let’s! It’s been home to restaurants with more names than Lord Voldemort but was most recently known as Istanbul Ocakbasi.  That has been shut for a while but now building work is taking place to give it a re-fit ready for its next incarnation. We hear it’s going to be an Italian, possibly a Sicilian.  Whatever it is, we wish the new business at that particular location the very, very, VERY best of luck.

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Pic of the Week: Heathrow vs The Arts

Expand the Arts not Heathrow! Whilst in no way condoning the defacement of adverts (of course, etc) we did find this one rather amusing. It’s on the corner of Staines Road and Elmsleigh Road and should raise a chuckle with the retired thesps in Brinsworth House opposite. Hey, perhaps there’s a connection? Look out for an aged actor armed with spray can and a long ladder roaming the streets of Twickenham after dark.

'Expand Heathrow' poster in Twickenham [courtesy of & copyright: Jodie Holland aka @dutchmrs on Twitter]

‘Expand Heathrow’ poster in Twickenham
[courtesy of & copyright: Jodie Holland aka @dutchmrs on Twitter]

Photo courtesy & we suppose copyright of Jodie Holland aka @dutchmrs on Twitter. As to a credit for the original artwork, we’re not entirely sure.

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The Rugby World Cup, the RFU… and You

Twickenham stadium

Twickenham stadium

Twickenham in south west London is famous as the home of English rugby. How’s that for an utterly fatuous introduction to an article? It’s pathetic. You live here, you know that already. Despite the opening inanity, what that ‘rugby fame thing’ actually means to you personally is something which carries a little more significance. Like it or not Twickenham is a rugby town – not exactly built around rugby perhaps, but certainly heavily influenced and affected by it. Whether you love rugby, can’t stand it or are totally indifferent to it, having up to 82,000 fans descend on Twickenham for big internationals isn’t something you can simply ignore.

The Autumn Internationals are upon us (two down, three to go) and you’ll be delighted / devastated to hear that it’s just three months until the 2015 RBS Six Nations begins again. And 2015 will be quite a year what with the ol’ Rugby World Cup malarkey taking place in England.  Some huge games will put Twickenham under the global rugby spotlight like never before.  [We’re not entirely sure what the global rugby spotlight is but it sounds pretty powerful.]

The tournament kicks off with England v Fiji at Twickenham on 18th September and over the following six weeks Twickenham will host ten matches through to the final on 31st October. That’s a lorra, lorra rugby. Add to that all the visiting fans staying locally and the South Africa and New Zealand teams being based nearby at St Mary’s University and the Lensbury Club and it should make for quite an event. El Brute have even announced that they are setting up a, wait for it, Rugby World Cup Scrutiny Panel, to help create a ‘Festival of Rugby‘ across the borough. We’re talking arts, music, sporty stuff and even a FanZone. The festival will run from May until the end of the tournament. Twickenham will be buzzing.

So far, so what? Twickenham isn’t just the home of England rugby, it’s also a real place, with real residents and real businesses. The RFU has the tricky task of managing ‘rugby plc’ complete with very large stadium whilst also trying to maintain good relations with the locals. It’s certainly not impossible but it does have its tensions. Continue reading

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Pic of the Week: Low Tides

It’s November and that means we’re in the zone of the annual “draw-off” at Richmond Lock and Weir. This is the time when the sluices get opened meaning that water isn’t held back as the tide goes out and so low tides between Richmond and Teddington Lock get, well, really low. What’s the point? It allows the lock, weir and sluices to be maintained and the river bed to be inspected. And, for those of us who don’t actually work for the Port of London Authority it’s a time to take photos and have a good old nose around the river bank.

Here’s a pic from Twickenham resident Garth Tucker.

Low means low. Thames at Twickenham [copyright & courtesy of: Garth Tucker]

Low means low. Thames at Twickenham
[copyright & courtesy of: Garth Tucker]

And here’s another, this time by the twickerati resident staff snapper.

Low tide just got lower

Low tide just got lower

This year’s draw-off runs from 1st to 23rd November.

LINK:

* PLA – Draw off info

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Twickenham Ice Rink to Return?

Strawberry Hill House [UPDATE at 13/11/14: The ice rink has now been approved by LBRuT Planning Committee]

After last winter’s temporary ‘Richmond Rink’ in the grounds of York House, the organisers at Twickenham Alive are hoping for the go-ahead for a repeat performance, but in the grounds of Strawberry Hill House rather than at the seat of Council power. The plans have been circulating for a while but a final decision from El Brute’s planning supremos is still pending. A committee ruling is expected at the meeting on 12th November and it’ll need to happen then if the rink is to open just a few weeks later on December 6th.

Here at twickerati HQ the verdict from the editor’s suite on the 17th floor is that this is a good idea and that the proposed location is a better choice than on top of the tennis courts at the side of York House. It may not be quite as accessible or central but it’s certainly more picturesque, or has the capability of being so, and isn’t that a large part of what these temporary rinks are all about? We also reckon the Diamond Jubilee Gardens would be a good spot but that one will have to wait for another year.

There is a fair amount of support for the Strawberry Hill House rink idea but, needless to say, there’s some local opposition too – the noise, the cars, the food, all those bloody people enjoying themselves. Last year’s temporary rink was small and particularly well suited to families with young children. Even if the proposed rink is slightly bigger (which appears to be the case) it’s unlikely to change the clientele substantially – perhaps a few more student types from St Mary’s University next door. Will there really be an influx of ‘skater louts’? We doubt it. We reckon it will be popular with normal people; people a little bit like you, perhaps. And after all, doesn’t Strawberry Hill House already get a steady stream of visitors in the summer? Why shouldn’t it continue to do that for a couple of months in the winter too?

So, is this whole ice rink malarky plan treading on thin ice or will it see you walking in a winter wonderland?

A planning committee decision is expected in mid-November and, if approved, the rink will run from 6th December to 25th January. Tickets will be available online, at the rink and through Crusader Travel in Church Street.

LINKS:
* Richmond Rink (in Twickenham / Strawberry Hill)
* Crowdfunding page
* Planning application (14/3393/FUL)
* LBRuT planning committee page

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Get Ready For… The 4th Annual Twickenham Twickerati Social Thingy

Remember, remember, the thirteenth of November. Why? It’s only bloody time for the 4th annual Twickenham twickerati hyperlocal meet up thingy, isn’t it?! Some might call it a ‘social’, others a ‘tweet up’, and others might just wonder what the hell we’re talking about.

The point of it, if indeed there is one, is to have an informal ‘buy your own drinks’ social for any Twickenham-based tweeters, ‘likers’, bloggers, scribblers, web hosters, Facebook posters, business folk and folky types who want to get together. It’s a chance to talk Twickenham (or even not), swap ideas, put faces to names, and even make some contacts. Or just have a beer or a glass of wine. And that’s it! There’s no hard sell, no presentations, no group hugs.

There have been three previous events, with the last two years attracting over 40 people. Yes, really. This year we’re delighted to be going to The Cabbage Patch, one of Twickenham’s best pubs.

As FDR might have said, had he been alive and inclined to come along, “Do not be shy. You have nothing to be shy about except shyness itself”.

Details:
Date: Thursday 13th November 2014
Time: From 8.00pm
Location: The Cabbage Patch, London Road, Twickenham (in the space at the back)

One last thing… if you do run a local website, blog or whatever and you do want people to know who you are (which might be useful) then feel free to wear some kind of name badge. It would be a great help.

Any questions? Ask them below or email us: twickerati @ gmail .com

Right then… who’s in?

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